Shout Out to My Favorite Blogs

For the record, I never say the words "Shout Out" in real life. Like, ever. It makes for a good post title, though, doesn't it?

I'd thought I'd share a few of my favorite blogs with you in case you read via email or Feedly and don't get a chance to click on my Blog Roll Page.

mmmcrafts - I read pretty much every single post of Larissa's. She is so crafty and cute I can hardly stand it. But seriously, I've been very much inspired by her. She's a great seamstress but also has a few papercrafts up her sleeve, among other things.

Afterthoughts - We'll be starting our first year of homeschooling in August Charlotte Mason style, and Brandi's blog has been such an inspiration! Not to mention a wellspring of practical help. Right now she has a great series going called Learning How to Live and her Stupendous Selections on Sundays never disappoint.

Ordo Amoris - Cindy's blog may not interest you if you're not homeschooling, but then again, it might. She is the mother of eight(!) boys and 1 girl. She has the perspective and wisdom of a homeschooling mom who's had several children graduate and are successful at what they do. She's also a thinker, that one. 

Modern Mrs. Darcy - Another blog where I read pretty much every. single. post. I get a lot of my book recommendations from her and I love her posts about clothing and gifts. Another thing I like about her? She responds to comments. As a fellow blogger (who's not even in the same ballpark, but still), I really appreciate it when bloggers sometimes respond to my comments. It makes me want to stay engaged in the conversation.

...these are a few of my favorite things... - I may be a little partial to this one. ;) She is one of my closest friends. She does great book reviews (among other things) and her children are adorable. Need I say more?

Spinning Memories, Knitting Love - Another one I'm partial to. Linda's also a close friend of mine, but happens to be wonderful knitter! She has another blog where she writes about faith -- A Sip from the Well.

What are a few of your favorite blogs?


On Being Flexible or Why We Stopped "No Screen Sundays"

A few months back we decided to implement a "No Screen Sunday." Well, it was actually my idea but my husband agreed to it because that's the kind of guy he is. :)

We (read: I) thought it would be nice to have a day off from the computer, the handhelds, the game systems, Kindle, etc.

And it was nice.

I think it worked those first few Sundays because I had rose-colored glasses such high-hopes.

But the reality was it pretty much stunk. I'll tell you why:

3 kids, ages 5 and under who need to eat, get dressed and have a nap + 2 parents who need to get ready (1 parent who needs to be to church 2 hrs early) + Murphy's Law = CERTAIN DISASTER AND POSSIBLE DEATH.

Sunday mornings are stressful. Those first few hours before church are the busiest of the week. There's diaper changes, making sure everyone goes potty, hair-dos (3 girls!), clothing is picked (have I mentioned our clothing issues?), a nap-time, more diaper changes, and if I want to look respectable I need at least 15 minutes to get ready. And of course, don't forget the fighting and whining while all of this is happening. Sometimes the children do it too.

And do you know what happens if things didn't go smoothly? Which is every. single. week? I would get irritated and crabby. Then the girls would get irritated and crabby. We'd arrive at church (barely) and all be in sour moods.

After a few weeks, I had to ask, Why in Heaven's name am I doing this to myself?! All so I can say, "We have No Screen Sunday's at our house." Ahem.

Well, you know what? Who cares.

I know some of you are thinking, It's a good opportunity to work on your attitude, Mama. And while that may be true, there are PLENTY of other opportunities throughout the week. AmIright?
I have prayed for peace on Sunday mornings and I have pushed myself and tried to "do better" all to no avail.

Would it be nice to have No Screen Sunday's? Yes. Is it worth making every Sunday morning a total nightmare. NOPE. More importantly, does God think I'm holier, better or love Him more because I keep the TV off? I don't think so. I think He's more concerned about my heart. 

So we scrapped it.

Now, after I feed the children and help them get dressed, I turn on the TV. Yep. I do. Granted, I try to keep it God-centered (Adventures in Odyssey or other Bible Stories) but sometimes I don't (Shaun the Sheep, anyone?). And that's ok. I think the Lord understands. I have to think that. Right now, keeping the peace in our family is more important than my snobby lofty goals.  
..He gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

I PRAY TO GOD hope that as we leave the season of having Littles it will get easier and we can get through the morning without turning the TV on.

I will say that even with turning on the TV, Sunday mornings can still be stressful. But it certainly helps. And for now, I'm going with it. I'm learning to be flexible. I'm learning that sometimes you try things and they work, and sometimes they don't and that's ok.

I just love that the parents wake up in the kids' beds. 



First Born

I'm a First Born Child. For the most part, I have typical First Born tendencies. Except that I'm not really a rule-follower, although I'd like to think that time and maturity have helped me in that area. ;) I still will make a U-turn in a NO U-turn zone if I absolutely have to though. Much to the horror of my First Born, Rule Following Husband. I'm outta control, I know. Watch out for me and my bad U-turning self!


This post is not about me.

Oldest is a true First Born to the core and I have evidence. She leaves traces of her Type A, organized self all over....

what a goof.

She explained to me that the books are sorted into categories, starting from the left: God books, board books, books about animals, books about fairies and school books.  

Love. that. girl.


Weekend Links

Here are a few of my favorites from the web:

The Little Way to Success - Ordo Amoris - a great, encouraging article for homeschooling moms
This is why I used to say stop planning your school and go do it. If you are frustrated about something not getting done in your home or school, get up and go do a tiny part of that...Right Now! Read a chapter of a book to your children Now. Pick up your Bible Now. You don't need a plan to read through the whole Bible in a year all you need to do is pick up your Bible and read a chapter today, pat yourself on the back, and do it again tomorrow. Do this for a lifetime and you will have read through the Bible many times, far more times than your grand scheme would have allowed.

How to Breastfeed Appropriately at Huffington Post - Funniest post EVER.

Unfortunately, breast milk comes out of breasts so there are a few ground rules that we need to cover. 

Real life stories:
   "I saw a woman breastfeeding in a park and was overcome with desire. I left my wife the same day." - John, 34, Nebraska

   "I was a married man with eight kids. Last month I saw a woman nursing her infant at a park. I am now married to her." - Luke, 45, South Dakota

Please do not use summer as an excuse to flash your flesh-toned milk bags. Just last week I ate an entire Italian sub under a handmade quilt in 90 degree weather skin-to-skin with a close friend to simulate summer breastfeeding. Were we hot? Yes. Were we uncomfortable? Yes. Did one of us briefly lose consciousness? Yes. Did we subject anyone to seeing nipples? NO.
No hook for the diaper bag? Put it on the floor or in the sink. When you get home, wipe it down with a bleach and water solution to remove any fecal matter.
Redeeming Love THE MOVIE! EEK!

Cultivating a Culture of Family Love - I Take Joy

Building an environment of love, grace, belonging, so that each child who is welcomed into her home, will provide a well spring in their hearts that says, “I have a history. I am a Clarkson (or Smith, or Martinez, or Krasaski), and we love each other, we belong to each other, we will always have stability because we are a part of this family and circle of love, spiritual strength and grace.” - See more at: http://www.itakejoy.com/cultivating-a-culture-of-family-love-love-that-lasts-a-lifetime/#sthash.ErLZEwTM.dpuf
Building an environment of love, grace, belonging, so that each child who is welcomed into her home, will provide a well spring in their hearts that says, “I have a history. I am a Clarkson (or Smith, or Martinez, or Krasaski), and we love each other, we belong to each other, we will always have stability because we are a part of this family and circle of love, spiritual strength and grace.”
Why Can't I Just Be Good? - Visionary Womanhood - The last few posts at VW have been so good. 
 Seeking Christ is all about relationship with Him. Not rules. When we are learning about Him, living daily in His love, basking in His Truths, enjoying His presence, relying on His guidance, trusting in His goodness, leaning on His strength, there are no rules necessary because all is love. Love is the fulfillment of the law. When we are looking to Him, we can see more clearly what the next step in our lives ought to be. And if it isn’t quite clear yet, we don’t need to look around us for the clues. We need to look more closely at Christ. We need MORE of this:
 …to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:19)


What Doesn't Kill You Makes You... Flip Out

(You only need to watch the first 30 seconds of this, although the whole thing is pretty funny.)

 Well, don't worry, don't worry. I'm not gonna do what you all think I'm gonna do which is..  FLIP OUT!!

I've flipped out a few times in the past week or so. Sigh.

Parenting is tough work. It's wonderful and rewarding, to be sure, but it's tough. I've had a few conversations recently (read: past few YEARS) that go like this,

Child: These shorts are TOO TIGHT!

Me: Then take them off.

Child: I don't want to!!

Me: Then leave them on.

Child: But they're too tight!!!


Child: NOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Me: (flipping out)
You might be wondering why, I, an adult, would try to rationalize with a child under the age of 5 and then be frustrated when it doesn't work.
*crickets chirping*

I've got nothin'.

All I can say is that I'm a work in progress and some days are better than others.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. - Phil 1:6
I also want to add that having a difficult child is a GREAT way to stretch yourself. Incidentally, I've grown a heckuva lot in the last few years. HA!

Aren't they cute? :) 

We're in a particularly tough season right now. Sort of reminds me of the time when Middlest was colicky and we had a 2 year old. That was easily one of the hardest times of my life. I've never felt so stretched to the limit of what I thought I could take.

These are the times in my life when I start to ask God, "Why?" or if I'm honest, "WHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!?" *arms and hands stretched towards the sky*

Because if you're "in it" for a while, say a month or two, you think, Man, this is tough! But the Lord has a plan I just know it! Something good will come out of this, I just know it! 

And then a few more months go by and you think, Wow. This is a really long season of hardship. It's just GOT to get easier soon. I'm pretty sure it will..

And then a few more months go by and you think, Ok, God. I haven't heard from you in a long while about this... What's the deal?

And then, finally, Ok, God. Where are you? Can you hear me? What am I doing wrong?!? 

I'm sort of at that last one. I'm starting to wonder what I'm missing. Like, instead of failing the test, I'm thinking did I just totally miss it? 

I'm pretty sure this theology is just in my head and is something I just need to work out in my head and heart. But has anyone else been there? What do you do?

What do you do when you have a child that you can't imagine life without, but day after long day nothing seems to change? Or for those of you that don't have small children, anything that you've been praying about for forever and don't see any changes..

I know what you do. You keep on keepin' on. You don't give up. Because He doesn't give up. And because He is faithful and there IS a plan and a purpose, even if I don't see it. And the things that aren't a part of God's plan, He'll work out. 

He's got this. 

Even if some days, I don't.
As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice. - Psalm 55: 16, 17